I normally connect my laptop to my home network via wireless on a Belkin Router (F1PI241EGau) from iiNet. Tonight, however, I tried to connect via a LAN port because it appears my router's wireless capability has been freezing every day with Smurf attacks - and I wanted to see the log before hard rebooting it. Rebooting has the unwanted effect of clearing out any diagnostic messages I might get right before the failure of wireless.
Problem was - I just couldn't enable the LAN adapter on my laptop - even through device manager. When I tried to enable it it would respond with a shocked "Connection Failed!" or "Windows could not enable your device" - and would show "Device is disabled (Code 22)". Nothing at all was showing up in the event log under Application/System categories - so the event log was about as useful as a screen door on a submarine in this situation.
I tried to disable some the Dell Quickset (f)utility and disabled power management to try to fix the problem. Dell has a lovely (for some) service that disables the network card when you are not on mains power called "NICCONFIGSVC" (C:\Program Files\Dell\QuickSet\NICCONFIGSVC.exe) - but still could not enable my laptop LAN card.
The simple fix was to uninstall the problematic network card and restarted. I now have a brand spanking new Local Area Network Adapter 3 which is fully functional and I can now proceed to diagnose the nasty Smurf DoS attacks.